Friday Homestead Dispatch

Tremulous Voluble Tittynope

It’s reported that the governors of Arizona, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, Georgia, Nebraska, and a few others, while playing rounds of golf at the all-white-except-for-one-token-black-female-attorney Forest Lake Country Club in Columbia, SC, are seething that Greg Abbott is getting such nationwide publicity for stripping women of their rights and implementing antiquated voter suppression tactics. Gov. Ducey (AZ) said in his defense, however, that in May he signed a law to purge voters from permanent early voting list. Gov. Kemp (GA) then had to stand up and say that in May he also signed into law a sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of state elections that includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run. And not to be outdone, Gov. DeSantis (FL) piped up, after his putt on the sixth green, that way back in April he passed a law that includes restrictions on vote-by-mail and drop boxes.

After picking up their robes and hoods from Ed Robinson Laundry and Dry Cleaning, the good ol’ boys reportedly grabbed some bags-o-burgers from the White Castle, headed back to the American Inn to watch a triple feature of Mandingo, The Passion of the Christ, and Gone With the Wind. They were also going to watch Birth of a Nation but DeSantis left his copy at home on his nightstand.

The next morning all governor’s in attendance released statements condemning President Biden for the hasty departure in Afghanistan, leaving women’s rights in jeopardy. And a bit of sniffling was overheard after news of Halliburton and Raytheon stocks plummeting.

And regarding the jealousy over Abbott’s six week abortion law all gathered in a huddle and pledged to create their own laws to encourage snitching, an activity that worked splendidly for Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn. And a new bill was being discussed to release all (white) men from any responsibility involving pregnancy and absolving them from jail time for now illegal abortions, except, of course, for these same conservative politicians whose wives and mistresses will always be able to get safe abortions with no penalty (with an earmark designated to form a committee to look into a dress code for women).

All in all, an outstanding mingling of America’s finest minds.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a scathing dissent of the Supreme Court’s ruling involving the just passed Texas laws.

If you don’t have the time to read the entire piece, I cobbled together some highlights:

“Last night, the Court silently acquiesced in a State’s enactment of a law that flouts nearly 50 years of federal precedents. This is untenable. It cannot be the case that a State can evade federal judicial scrutiny by outsourcing the enforcement of unconstitutional laws to its citizenry. The Court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law. In effect, the Texas Legislature has deputized the State’s citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures.”

Even President Biden got into the act stating “I am directing that Council and the Office of the White House Counsel to launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision, looking specifically to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to see what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe, and what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.”

Charles Pierce chimed in with “We all knew that Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett were bag-job nominations for the specific purpose of voting the way they did late Wednesday night, and we all knew that Neil Gorsuch and Sam Alito were just waiting in the weeds with Clarence Thomas, who’d been there longer than any of them. But, at their moment of ultimate triumph, they at least could have tried a little harder.”

Pierce is advocating for the Democrats, especially if there’s no change to the filibuster, to “Expand the Court. Do it tomorrow. Jesus Christ, a 5-4 majority just ruled that a cheap legal three-card monte game at the heart of a law was too clever for the Constitution to address. This whole decision reeks of the same kind of corruption that afflicted the 1919 World Series.”

And, of course, Robert Reich had something to say about it:

“It’s a sure sign that the court’s Republican-appointed justices, who now hold six of nine seats, are ready to overturn the court’s 1973 decision in Roe v Wade, striking down anti-abortion laws across the nation as violating a woman’s right to privacy under the 14th amendment to the constitution.

Last week the court held that Biden’s moratorium on evictions was illegal. A few days before, it refused to stay a lower court decision that people seeking asylum at the southern border must remain in Mexico until their cases are heard – often subjecting them to great hardship or violence.

What links these cases? Cruelty toward the powerless.”

The Washington Post published an opinion piece Wednesday titled: Four ways to think about Abbott’s and DeSantis’s 2022 prospects. Number four is my favorite and most hopeful: “Abbott and DeSantis both might lose, if Democrats take a Stacey Abrams-like approach stating that Democrats have a model for flipping Florida and Texas in the state of Georgia, which went blue in 2020 in part because of the work of Abrams and other Democrats there to mobilize younger, urban and minority voters.”

2022’s gonna be another nail-biter.

I’m speculating that many of these conservative and religious folks ruling over other people’s lives watched too much of this in their youth…

Or perhaps this one…

Hey, didn’t I hear the ‘war’ is over? The Washington Post reported yesterday that U.S. could work with Taliban against terrorists along with this paragraph, “We don’t know what the future of the Taliban is, but I can tell you from personal experience that this is a ruthless group from the past, and whether or not they change remains to be seen,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Wednesday. “In war, you do what you must,” he added, even if it is “not what you necessarily want to do.”

It’s that last line there that seems a bit troubling. The president, in his speech this week, said, “In April, I made the decision to end this war. As part of that decision, we set the date of August 31st for American troops to withdraw.”

So, is this a new and more wonderful war? Is the war where we use drone technology that doesn’t seem to work all that well? Is this another war to bring ‘democracy’ to some backward-thinking nation? Who determines what nations are backward-thinking? Texas?

I’m all for diplomacy with the new regime in Afghanistan. Al-Jazeera reported that the Taliban has said it wants to form an “inclusive” government and that it has been talking to members of former governments to encourage them to join a new administration. It has also pledged to respect human rights and women’s freedoms “within Islamic law”.

Who knows? The Taliban is a faction of Pashtun tribesmen who use a form of Sharia Islamic law based on Deobandi fundamentalism and militant Islamism and have historically prevented girls and young women from attending school, banned women from working jobs outside of healthcare (male doctors were prohibited from treating women), and required that women be accompanied by a male relative and wear a burqa at all times when in public. If women broke certain rules, they have been known to be publicly whipped or executed. Not unlike Christian Nationalists, the Taliban is more like a governing system than religion.

But as cartoonist Ted Rall reports, “Right now, the Taliban are saying the right things and sending positive signals about keeping girls’ schools open, allowing women to work, and amnesty for Afghans who worked for NATO occupation force. Clearly the order has gone out from the Taliban shura to their fighters to behave correctly. Images from a Taliban press conference reveal that the presidential palace has not been vandalized or looted. In a signal that this is not your father’s Taliban, high-ranking Taliban official Mawlawi Abdulhaq Hemad sat for an interview with a female television journalist whose face was uncovered. Former president Hamid Karzai is safe despite having remained in Kabul. While Western news media made much of the Taliban firing their guns outside the airport, firing over people’s heads was clearly an attempt at crowd control.

Americans would not have voted for the Taliban to govern Afghanistan. But we don’t get a vote. For the foreseeable future, what seemed inevitable to anyone who was paying attention over the last 20 years is now a fait accompli. The question now is: which Taliban will we and, far more importantly, the people of Afghanistan be dealing with?”

I will always advocate for peace and diplomacy before jumping the gun, as it were…

I’ll just wrap up with some hopeful words from David Frum’s Atlantic article: But it’s also possible that Texas Republicans have miscalculated. Instead of narrowly failing again and again, feeding the rage of their supporters against shadowy and far-away cultural enemies, abortion restricters have finally, actually, and radically got their way. They have all but outlawed abortion in the nation’s second-largest state, and voted to subject women to an intrusive and intimate regime of supervision and control not imposed on men. At last, a Republican legislative majority has enacted its declared beliefs in almost their fullest form—and won permission from the courts to impose its will on the women of its state. The moral of the story would seem to be that Republicans do best when the electorate is satisfied and quiet; they face disaster when the electorate is mobilized and angry. Texas Republicans have just bet their political future in a rapidly diversifying and urbanizing state on a gambit: cultural reaction plus voter suppression. The eyes of Texas will be upon them indeed. The eyes of the nation will be upon them too.

Maybe next year we’ll witness an ass-kicking backlash with folks like Beto O’Rourke who, by going county to county and shaking hands, reminds people there is an alternative and gives those voters a reason to come to the polls.

and now for a Rimfire hurray-y-y-y!